~ Latest Update Wednesday, January 06, 2016 ~
'Tis been said that "Necessity is the Mother of Invention..." And this certainly
held true with the cars of "The Narrow Gauge"...
In the early 1950's Oil was discovered in and around Farmington, New Mexico, breathing new life into the rapidly declining freight traffic on The Narrow Gauge. Well casing was needed by the drillers in Farmington; pipe in lengths of 40 feet; pipe that could only come as far south as Alamosa, Colorado by rail, and which the motor trucks of the day couldn't haul over the steep, unpaved mountain passes separating Alamosa from Chama.
Yet the "Narrow Gauge had few freight cars long enough to carry these long heavy loads. Thus the "Idler Flat", along with the "Pipe Gons" it separated was born.
Two different versions of these cars were built ( or re-built, as it were...) by the Rio Grande's own shops; One, built by converting old "3000" series box cars; the others by converting old "5500" series stock cars.
The "conversions" amounted to unceremoniously stripping off the "house" portion of the car, and bolting lengths of rail to its outer side-sills to keep the no-longer-braced-thing from collapsing under braking. They weren't much to look at, but they certainly served the purpose.
Our model / kit represents the cars which were converted from "5500" Series Stock Cars. It even includes the "U" Bolts and Rail!
The Idler Flat you see pictured here was built for us by Don Nelson. Looking well used, and like its paint has seen more than one harsh high country winter, the model pretty much typifies the look of a piece of wooden rolling stock, don't you agree?
As with our other models, this model weighs in just about 3 ounces, with no load. It comes complete with accurately scaled, easy-to-assemble, ( Read Snap Together ) free rolling trucks moulded in an engineering plastic bearing the trade name "Celcon ®". And of course, the now Standard of the Industry P-B-L Nickel Plated Brass Wheelsets.
All parts of this model kit, save for the hand grabs, brake rods, piping and rails are injection moulded in high impact styrene plastic. Decals and Genuine Kadee ® Couplers are included, of course, along with comprehensive instructions...
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